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Casino Changing Comps Policy

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Our local casino changed their comps policy recently. To their credit, they did put advertising and brochures around the casino about the changes, but I doubt most people really took the information in. The devil was in the details.

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Up until recently, the casino gave most players 1 point for every $4 played in a slot or video poker machine (or 1 point for every $3 for a diamond member, or 1 point for every $2 for a casino VIP), and these points could be used for food, accommodation, merchandise, or cashback in the casino. A VIP player playing $100000 of slots in a month could get $500 back in cash. An advantage table player would receive 100 points for a full hour spent at a minimum $25 hand average on blackjack. It would take that player around 40 hours (100 hands per hour x $25 = $2500 per hour) to get to $100000 turnover, so they would earn only $40 in points, which again could be used to pay for food, accommodation, merchandise, or cashback. That’s about one-tenth of the cashback a slot player could get – but then the odds against the player (0.5% against typical 5% slot hold) are about one-tenth too!

Clearly some table players were doing quite well, and the comps were costing the casino even more as most players were opting for cashback rather than other services which cost the casino much less… so they’ve changed the formula. Now play on table games accumulates points, but those points can be used for food, accommodation, or merchandise – or TABLE CHIPS. NO MORE CASHBACK.

Table Chips might be seen as equivalent to cashback by some players: after all, they are issued as if they were cash (i.e. you get a $25 chip; before you’d get $25 in cash). However, the chip (which is non-negotiable) must be PLAYED until lost. Any winnings can be cashed out as normal. Because of this requirement, players are giving up about 1% of that value (on blackjack or baccarat) or more, depending on the games they play. So in reality, it’s costing the player.

Personally, it won’t stop me playing, as I play a lot of table games, and these chips I earn as comps are really insignificant in value compared to my normal buy-ins. But I expect some players won’t like this new touch, and may move to slots. Maybe that’s the casinos wish: after all, slots make more money for the casinos than most table games, and with lower staff overhead. If you see your own local casino making changes to the comp policy, do check out the details. Their “swap” might cost you more than you think.

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